Latvia could be barred from the Olympics, says anti-doping body

Following an internal review, Latvia's anti-doping body has discovered 19 deficiencies in its work and says athletes may be prevented from taking part in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, reports Latvian Radio.

"There could be monetary sanctions or limitations on taking part in large-scale events, including but not limited to the Olympic Games," said Mārtiņš Dimants, head of the Anti-doping department of the State Sports Medicine Center.

Latvia's Health Ministry says that the main problem is that the anti-doping body is not independent but instead is controlled by said ministry. The Health Ministry wants to establish an independent anti-doping bureau. 

"We hope that funds will be granted to the Health Ministry [for the task]," said Edgars Severs, director of the Sports department at the Ministry of Education.

"I don't want to paint gloomy future scenarios, but if expertise is carried out from outside, a certain risk exists," he said.

Currently the anti-doping body employs three people. Its previous director left due to the low salary the position carried, said Mārtiņš Dimants. 

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